New Year’s resolutions are easy to make, but hard to keep--as anyone who’s resolved to get in shape, or stop smoking, or vowed to get to work early every day can attest to.

The first few days are a breeze: off you jog to the gym, so proud of yourself. You toss your smokes in the trash, yippee! You get to work, a little bleary-eyed, but early enough to get a good head start on your day. All is well.

Fast forward to a month later: you’re still on track, sort of. You don’t exactly jog to the gym, but you get there. Most of the time. You’ve bummed a cigarette off a friend a couple of times, but that’s all. You’re getting in early to work once or twice a week. Not too shabby.

But by four or five months down the road, forget about it! Your New Year’s resolutions are history…until next January.

Yet, you really did mean those resolutions, and you really do want to accomplish those goals. What went wrong?

You lacked “grit.” “Grit” is research psychologist Angela Duckworth’s word for what separates those who succeed magnificently in life from those who just do OK. Grit is passion plus perseverance. And according to her research, many talented people do not succeed because, despite their talent, they lack grit. They may have passion, but no perseverance. It seems the ability to just keep going (cue Energizer Bunny) really does make the difference.

I remember when I first started dancing, gazing in awe at the accomplished dancers twirling around the floor. I asked my teacher, what makes them so amazing? Is it raw talent? Body shape? A certain dance method?

She told me that all of those things mattered, but that what made the difference between a good dancer and a great dancer, was that the great dancer practiced, practiced, and practiced some more, regardless of the day of the week, the dancer’s mood that day, or whatever else might be going on in their lives. They had passion--the love of dance--and perseverance.

So, if you really want your New Year’s resolutions to stick, if you want to see those resolutions through to success, first of all--choose something you are passionate about. Something you can fall in love with. If it’s a healthy body, great, if it’s clean lungs, great, if it’s climbing the corporate ladder, great. It doesn’t matter what is the goal, the “why” of your resolution, what matters is that you absolutely unequivocally, adore that goal.

Secondly, just do it. Day in, day out, no excuses. Persevere. Use whatever you need to motivate yourself: I personally love cheesy success posters and recite endless affirmations. Find whatever works for you and use it.

I guarantee you will have an exceptional year!

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of 12 best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. Visit,